Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Police: No evidence London attacker associated with IS

Published:Tuesday | March 28, 2017 | 3:00 AM
Floral tributes to the victims of the Westminster attack are placed outside the Palace of Westminster, London yesterday

LONDON (AP):

Police have found no evidence that the man who killed four people in London last week was associated with the Islamic State group or al-Qaida, a senior British counterterrorism officer said yesterday.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, of the Metropolitan Police, said Westminster attacker Khalid Masood clearly had "an interest in jihad," but police have no indication that he discussed his attack plans with others.

Basu, who also serves as Britain's senior national coordinator for counterterrorism policing, said Wednesday's attack in which Masood ran down pedestrians on London's Westminster Bridge before fatally stabbing a policeman guarding Parliament "appears to be based on low-sophistication, low-tech, low-cost techniques copied from other attacks".

Masood was shot dead by police after his deadly rampage, which police have revealed lasted just 82 seconds.

 

Possible accomplices

 

Police believe that Masood - a 52-year-old Briton with convictions for violence who had spent several years in Saudi Arabia - had acted alone, but are trying to determine whether others helped to inspire or direct his actions.

Detectives yesterday continued to question a 30-year-old man arrested on Sunday and a 58-year-old man arrested shortly after Wednesday's attack. Both were detained in the central England city of Birmingham, where Masood had recently lived.

Prime Minister Theresa May said last week that Masood was "a peripheral figure" in an investigation into violent extremism some years ago, but Basu said he was not a "subject of interest" for counterterrorism police or the intelligence services before last week's attack.

Masood was born Adrian Elms, but changed his name in 2005, suggesting a conversion to Islam.

His mother, Janet Ajao, said on Monday that she was "deeply shocked, saddened and numbed" by his murderous actions.